Growth and Infrastructure Bill

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 9:40 pm on 5th November 2012.

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Photo of Michael Fallon Michael Fallon The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills 9:40 pm, 5th November 2012

I have already made it absolutely clear that as we have simplified the planning guidance, we are, of course, also responsible, as are local councils, for the efficient delivery of planning applications. I repeat that good, efficient councils have nothing to fear from the Bill.

Let us examine the previous Government’s record: in 13 years, they passed 15 planning Acts; six years after their main planning Act of 2004, fewer than 60 out of 335 planning authorities actually had the core strategies they were supposed to have; and after 13 years of top-down housing targets, they ended up with the lowest number of new homes built in any peacetime year since the 1920s. And who can forget the shambles of the eco-towns? Ten were promised, only three turned out to be viable without public subsidy, amazingly only one was assessed as environmentally friendly and, of course, none of the 10 was actually built. That is Labour in a nutshell: nought out of 10 for delivery. They give the builders of the Potemkin village a good name. So there we have the Labour record: planning authorities with no plans; development agreements commissioned but not actually signed; affordable housing commitments demanded but not actually built; eco-towns promised but none—not one—actually delivered. The Labour party is defending a record of failure and supporting a position of stagnation.